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Symmetrical Faults

A fault in a circuit is any failure that interferes with the normal system operation. Lighting strokes cause most faults on high -voltage transmission lines producing a very high transient that greatly exceeds the rated voltage of the line. This voltage usually causes flashover between the phases and/or the ground creating an arc. Since the impedance of this new path is usually low, an excessive current may flow. Faults involving ionized current paths are also called transient faults. They usually clear if power is removed from the line for a short time and then restored.

If one, or two, or all three phases break or if insulators break due to fatigue or inclement weather This fault is called a permanent fault since it will remain after a quick power removing. Approximately 75% of all faults in power systems are transient in nature. Selecting an appropriate circuit breaker (type, size, etc.) is of significant importance.

3-Phase fault current transients in synchronous generators

When a symmetrical 3-phase fault occurs at the terminals of a synchronous generator, the resulting current flow in the phases of the generator can appear as shown. The current can be represented as a transient DC component added on top of a symmetrical AC component. Therefore, while before the fault, only AC voltages and currents were present within the generator, immediately after the fault, both AC and DC currents are present.

Fault current transients in machines

When the fault occurs, the AC component of current jumps to a very large value, but the total current cannot change instantly since the series inductance of the machine will prevent this from happening. The transient DC component of current is just large enough such that the sum of the AC and DC components just after the fault equals the AC current just before the fault.

Since the instantaneous values of current at the moment of the fault are different in each phase, the magnitude of DC components will be different in different phases.

Symmetrical AC component of the fault current

There are three periods of time: Sub-transient period: first cycle or so after the fault AC current is very large and falls rapidly; Transient period: current falls at a slower rate; Steady-state period: current reaches its steady value. It is possible to determine the time constants for the sub-transient and transient periods.

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Fault current transients in machines

The AC current flowing in the generator during the sub- transient period is called the sub-transient current and is denoted by I. The time constant of the sub-transient current is denoted by T and it can be determined from the slope. This current may be 10 times the steady-state fault current.

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The AC current flowing in the generator during the transient period is called the transient current and is denoted by I. The time constant of the transient current is denoted by T. This current is often as much as 5 times the steady-state fault current.
After the transient period, the fault current reaches a stead y- state condition Iss. This current is obtained by dividing the induced voltage by the synchronous reactance:

Fault current transients in machines

The rms magnitude of the AC fault current in a synchronous generator varies over time as I(t) = (I I)e - t/T + (I Iss)e- t/T + Iss The sub-transient and transient reactances are defined as the ratio of the internal generated voltage to the subtransient and transient current components: X = Ea/I X = Ea/I Xs= Ea/Is

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1 Fault current transients 9 e.g. A 100 MVA, 13.8 kV, Y-connected, 3 phase 60 Hz synchronous generator is operating at the rated voltage and no load when a 3 phase fault occurs at its terminals. Its reactances per unit to the machines own base are X s =1.00 X ' = 0.25 X " = 0.12 T " = 0.04 s

and the time constants are T ' =1.10 s

The initial DC component in this machine averages 50 percent of the initial AC component. a)What is the AC component of current in this generator the instant after the fault? b)What is the total current (AC + DC) in the generator right after the fault occurs?

Fault current transients

The base current of the generator can be computed as
I L ,base Sbase 100, 000, 000 = = 4,184 A = 3 13,800 3VL ,base


The subtransient, transient, and steady-state currents are (per-unit and Amps)
E A = 1.0 I"= = 8.333 pu = 34, 900 A X " 0.12 E A 1.0 I'= = = 4 pu =16, 700 A X ' 0.25 E 1.0 I ss = A = =1 pu = 4,184 A X s 1.0

Fault current transients

a)The initial AC component of current is I = 34,900 A. b)The total current (AC and DC) at the beginning of the fault is
I tot =1.5 I " = 52, 350 A
c) The AC component of current as a function of time is t t t t I (t )=(I "I ')e T " +(I 'Iss )e T ' +Iss =18,200e 0.04 +12,516e 1.1 +4,184 A After 2 cycles t = 1/30 s and the total AC current is


I = 7,910 +12,142 + 4,184 = 24, 236 A At 5 s, the current reduces to I (5)= 0 +133 + 4,184 = 4,317 A